For much of the electronic music community, Ultra Music Festival marks the beginning of festival season. Taking place each March, it affords talent from across the globe an opportunity to premiere new music in front of tens of thousands of fans who gather in Miami, Florida for the now-three-day event.
Among them are personalities whose names virtually grew synonymous with dance culture over the course of the EDM decade. Read on to learn about 10 artists whose Ultra track debuts became the thing of legend, and find more information on the next edition of the festival via the Ultra Music Festival website.
Dutch DJ/producer and Wall Recordings label boss Afrojack debuted collaborations with two different EDM household names four years apart. In 2013 he premiered his and Martin Garrix‘s “Turn Up The Speakers” ahead of its 2014 release, and the 2017 event saw him drop “Another Life” with David Guetta a month before it came out.
At the 2013 edition of Ultra, Surinamese DJ/producer Chuckie brought out an unexpected guest. For the world premiere of his Betatraxx collaboration, “Rocktronica,” former Guns N Roses guitarist Slash came onstage to play the electric guitar portion of the song live.
8. Armin van Buuren
The 2018 edition of Ultra saw three-time DJ Mag Top 100 #1 DJ Armin van Buuren premiere the festival anthem “Blah Blah Blah.” Between its singalong lyrics and vaguely psytrance-inspired drum pattern, the song had all the right ingredients to hold the rapidly shifting EDM world’s short attention span.
7. David Guetta
A year after Afrojack premiered their aforementioned collaboration, David Guetta took the opportunity to test out a bolder crossover at the 2018 edition of Ultra. The Frenchman brought out Sean Paul and Becky G to perform their joint endeavor, “Mad Love,” in front of a thousands-deep audience.
After carving out a lane for themselves with the 2014 smash hit singles “You” and “Runaway (U & I),” Galantis had quite a crowd waiting for them at the 2016 edition of Ultra. They used the opportunity to test out “No Money,” which made its rounds throughout festival main stages the world over in the months that followed.
A prominent figurehead of big room house, it comes as no surprise that Hardwell has debuted music at Ultra. In 2016 he brought Craig David onstage for a rendition of their collaboration, “No Holding Back,” ahead of its release later that year.
A legend in his own right, Dutch superstar DJ/producer Tiësto made use of Ultra’s platform to test out his reimagining of Marvin Gaye‘s Motown classic, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” In a press statement later in the year he said, “After first playing ‘Grapevine‘ and getting such a huge response at Ultra Miami this year, I knew it was special.”
3. The Chainsmokers
EDM worlds collided in 2019 when The Chainsmokers unveiled an Illenium collaboration titled “Takeaway” featuring Lennon Stella on the Ultra main stage. “We’ve never debuted a track at Ultra before but this will be the first time,” Drew Taggart belted out over the mic before the duo cued the song up.
2. Martin Garrix
Martin Garrix has unleashed more new music during Ultra performances than perhaps any other artist of his status. While not a world premiere in the strictest sense, at only 18 he brought out Usher for the 2015 live debut of their collaboration, “Don’t Look Down,” mere weeks after it came out.
The following year saw the Dutch DJ/producer treat revelers to a wealth of unreleased songs. Among them were an edit of “Lions In The Wild” with Third Party featuring John Martin; “In The Name Of Love” featuring Bebe Rexha; and “Spaceships,” one of the first songs under his and Maejor‘s Area 21 side project.
During the 2019 event, he also debuted one of his later Matisse & Sadko collaborations, “Mistaken” featuring Alex Aris.
A household name whose meteoric rise and tragic fall bookended the EDM boom, Avicii gifted Ultra attendees with the world premieres of arguably his most influential music.
During his set at the 2011 edition the Swedish DJ/producer dropped “Levels,” a track that quickly became ubiquitous throughout the festival circuit. In 2013 he premiered “Wake Me Up” featuring Aloe Blacc, which spurred an era of EDM crossovers despite being met with mixed initial reactions. By and large, Ultra performances marked some of the more notable moments of Avicii’s celebrated career.
FOLLOW ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL: